My Faulty Understanding {}

I enjoy listening to the app while I prepare breakfast. It has a two-fold benefit. First, and most obvious, I am in the Word. Second, the kids listen, too. It keeps morning squabbles at bay while filling them with the Word, too.

Last week, we were proceeding with our morning routine as usual. Clothes were being changed, teeth were being brushed, and coffee was being brewed. I switched on the app and began listening to the dulcet tones of the narrator detail the events of Joshua with intermittent attention. Pancakes needed flips and children needed reminders. I was half-heartedly following along until one phrase, pulled from the Holy Spirit’s quiver, struck my heart and piqued my interest.

“They resorted to deception to save themselves” (Joshua 9:3 NLT)

What? Who? Who resorted to deception to save themselves? How did they do it? How did I grow up in church and somehow miss this story, because I have no clue what is happening? (I feel that way a lot.) I ratcheted up the volume on the speaker and rewound the reading back to the beginning of the chapter.

Standing with coffee in hand while reading along on my cracked phone screen, I learned about the plot of the kings to the west of the Jordan River. They ruled the kingdoms which God commanded the Israelites to obliterate, and upon hearing of Joshua and the Israelites’ success, they became fearful.

“These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites. But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”
The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “How do we know you don’t live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you” ” (2-7).
The Israelites knew what they were commanded to do. They did not shirk from their covenant or hint at an unsanctioned solution. They would not make peace with the inhabitants of Canaan. They would destroy everything to claim their God given inheritance.
But their enemies also knew their plan. They resorted to cunning and deception to save their own skin. They convinced Joshua and the Israelites they were from a distant land.

“So our elders and all our people instructed us, ‘Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, “We are your servants; please make a treaty with us.”’

“This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey” ” (11-13)
 For me, the next line was even more powerful than the first because it was an arrow shot from the bow of conviction directly into my soul.
“So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the Lord” (14).
Guilty. I am so guilty. I like to think I am smart. I like to think I can reason and deduce. I like to think that I can take clues from the circumstances around me, form logical conclusions, and make sound decisions based entirely upon my own abilities. I rely on my own knowledge and fail to consult the All-Knowing. In my ignorance, I wonder what treaties I have signed with the enemy. I wonder how far I will have to go defending things that I was supposed to vanquish.
Joshua made the same mistake at least once. He looked at their moldy food and patched wineskins and believed their story. He made a peace treaty, never once consulting God in the process. In the end, he had to honor that treaty, even defending them against their enemies.
It is a scary thought, but Satan knows everything we know about God’s purpose and plans. He is a great deceiver; the father of lies. And he is scared. He will manipulate every situation to gain your trust and get you to stop fighting your war against him, even tricking you into a peace agreement you are bound to honor.
We must be diligent to consult the Lord in every matter. Let us lean not upon our own understanding, but seek the Lord in all we do so he can show us which path to take (Proverbs 3:5).
My understanding is faulty. I don’t know what’s best. I didn’t create the world. I don’t have foreknowledge of everything in it. Those distinctions belong to the One True God.